Watching the South Carolina Republican primary results tonight brought back warm memories of the 2008 South Carolina Democratic primary.
I was a voter protection lawyer for the Obama campaign assigned to a majority-black rural area southeast of Columbia. The voters were proud of their role in helping to elect America's first black President.
After the polls closed, we returned to Columbia in time to be present for Sen. Obama's victory speech. Later that evening, one of my best friends called to read me Caroline Kennedy's op-ed in the NYTimes ("A President Like My Father"), which moved me to tears. I was 10 years old when her father died, and I'll always remember her as the little girl standing at attention while her father's funeral procession passed. It was one of those moments that made me feel that what we were doing was connected to history.
It's been 4 years since the 2008 Iowa caucus. Following is a post I made one year after the caucus.
What lessons did we learn from Iowa? First, we had the best organization, primarily volunteers. Second, people like a positive campaign. We didn't attack Sen. Clinton or Sen. Edwards; instead, we told people why we thought Sen. Obama would be the best President. Third, don't let conventional wisdom discourage you (or make you too cocky). Conventional wisdom assumes things will stay the way they are today, but people can change the course of events if they stay true to their plan.
One year since the Iowa caucus - wasn't that the best? (originally posted January 3, 2009):
It's been one year since the Iowa caucus. Everyone who was there has a story - this is mine.
As a progressive Democrat, I’m proud of what President Obama has done in his first 2 ½ years. He steered the country through the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. He risked his Presidency to get the Affordable Care Act passed. He signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, eliminating an egregious form of discrimination against women. He pushed for and signed repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He signed the New START Treaty, eliminating thousands of nuclear weapons. He has vastly improved the image of the United States around the world.
All of this was done in the face of monolithic opposition by the Republican Party. Republicans have shamefully misrepresented what the President is doing, characterizing him as a “socialist,” “the most liberal President in history,” and worse.